In praise of metropolitan food.

Now I am biased against all regional food, regardless of the region. Though I am a convinced regionalist in matters of literature and art, I am unapologetically metropolitan when I eat. This is because regional food is almost invariably peasant food and I am not a peasant. Neither, as a rule, are the people cooking it in city restaurants. Regional food when it is rural food is an affectation of poverty and why eat as the poor once ate when you don\’t have to?

Quite.

That the peasantry of an area managed to make something or other out of the limited resources of the region doesn\’t mean that those of us who are not peasants and not restricted to the resources of the region sould eat as those peasants.

Some of those regional peasant foods have, because they are delicious, gone global. Neapolitan pizza for example. Those that haven\’t, haven\’t, because they are not delicious.

Competition works you see? That food which is delicious conquers the world. That interesting boar tonsil recipe stays where only boar tonsils are available.

5 thoughts on “In praise of metropolitan food.”

  1. I can understand what you mean to a point.

    When I’m in the UK I more often than not eat peasant food, but stuff that is suited to our climate. I’m not a huge fan of curry dishes, for example and tend to prefer typical British and Irish food. I like foreign dishes but it is often impractical to recreate these dishes at home due to these places often having very different food traditions to the UK.

    I think ‘trendy’ lefties going to fancy restaurants and choosing to have, I don’t know, Eritrean stew dishes are not only missing the point but spitting in the faces of these people because in many of these countries people wouldn’t choose such derisory peasant food if they had the choice of something better.

  2. Ah, braised tonsil of wild boar. Creamed brains, fried chitterlings, stuffed lamb heart, calf’s liver, pig’s ears in breadcrumbs, devilled kidneys, ragout of sweetbread, black pudding, ox tongue, prairie oysters, ox liver soup, braised ox tail, faggots and peas…

  3. You should try my Cambridge cassoulet next time you,re in the region: made only from locally available road kill -the pheasants are superb (though I admit it does go a bit downhill after that).

  4. “Every Advent we entered the purgatory of lutefisk, a repulsive gelatinous fishlike dish that tasted of soap and gave off an odor that would gag a goat. We did this in honor of Norwegian ancestors, much as if survivors of a famine might celebrate their deliverance by feasting on elm bark. I always felt the cold creeps as Advent approached, knowing that this dread delicacy would be put before me and I’d be told, “Just have a little.” Eating a little was like vomiting a little, just as bad as a lot.”

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